Sunday, March 31, 2013

Mathew R. Horn Visits The Barn Door Book Loft

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Matthew. What can you tell us about Nothing Good is Free. Is there a story behind this book?

Nothing Good is Free is the sequel to The Good Fight released in September of 2011 by Brighton Publishing. The series which will eventually include the final installment, The Price We Pay, was originally conceived during a sermon at the 2009 Indiana Christian Youth Convention.  I wanted to write a story involving a young hero’s maturation that would symbolize how hard it can be for Christians to make the right decisions day in and day out; our Good Fight.  My hero, Jeff, has an interesting relationship with his vigilante mentor, Jim, and must learn to fight for what is right regardless of the consequences.  Jeff’s maturation as a hero is a Christian’s maturation from the beginning where we choose Christ (Jeff’s acceptance of becoming a vigilante) to where we eventually “leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity,” Hebrews 6:1 (Jeff fully takes on the roll of vigilante).      

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I love anything that has adventure in it.  Mystery, Sci-fi, Fantasy… I think Treasure Island might be one of my all-time favorites. I also love The Last of the Mohicans and The Lord of the Rings. Ted Dekker has done some work that I have really enjoyed. I can even do Romance if the author can sneak just a bit of adventure in. 

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?

In The Good Fight, the role of the detective was very small and I didn’t even take time to mention his name.  In the newly released sequel, Nothing Good is Free, the detective role is expanded immensely.  Detective Martell is an older, experienced detective and for whatever his reasons are, has stayed a morally strong man.  God puts him into Jeff’s life and together the two of them accomplish a lot that they could not have done alone.  I really liked writing his character because he ends up in a very complicated situation between defending Jeff and protecting himself.  Managing that puzzle was, in my opinion, a great example of something that we just have to leave to God to take care of for us. 
What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud? 

I smile a lot, but my 12 month old daughter, Ella, is what makes me smile the most right now.  My wife and I love to just sit on the living room floor and play with her, or just watch her play with her toys.  She and my wife are the greatest gift I could imagine God could give me. 

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Fall is probably the most beautiful.  Spring is the most magical, and Christmas is easily my favorite time of year.  That being said, summer is far and away my favorite season.  I was raised on a lake here in small-town Indiana, and I love to swim, water-ski, etc.  One of my favorite things in the world is to lie on the end of the pier and read a good book.  I don’t think anything could be more relaxing.

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing? 

I love to use places I’ve traveled to in my books.  My Good Fight series is based in Chicago.  My mother grew up there, and I’ve spent a good deal of time there over the years.  I love being able to picture the area I’m writing about in my head as I write it. 

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

I consider Tolkien and CS Lewis to by my biggest inspirations.  I love to write the conflict of good versus evil in a way that is heavily influenced by God.  In Nothing Good is Free as well as in The Good Fight, I used characters here and there that God sent to my heroes for direction and/or support.  I leave most of the imagery to the reader, but for a Christian reader I hope the depth of the reading increases. 

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc? 

Oddly, I escape to my kitchen table.  Every morning I wake up early and take time to read and pray as I eat breakfast.  I’m alone usually although sometimes my wife likes to join me, and it’s so nice to sit in the quiet and read God’s word.  It also gives me a sense of support for the upcoming day.  It’s nice knowing that he’s there.  I think if I had to do this all on my own that I would probably fall apart.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it? 

My next planned book is the third book in the Good Fight series titled The Price We Pay. It will conclude the series and wrap up Jeff’s story as the vigilante in Chicago.  I hope to have it released in the summer of 2014. 

Where can our readers purchase your books?
Or have your local library order it in for you!

Matthew R. Horn is giving away a copy of Nothing Good is Free. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Thank you so much for joining us, Matthew.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nothing Good is Free by Matthew R. Horn

Back Cover Blurb:

After the death of his mentor and vigilante, Jim, Jeff decides to wear the suit and fill Jim’s shoes. He vows to walk a straighter line, fighting injustice. However, Jeff quickly begins to see how Jim’s fight changed over the years. Jeff is fighting to keep his job and his girlfriend, while at the same time staying one step ahead of both the police and the mob. Jeff searches for pieces of Jim’s history, trying to piece together Jim’s life and understand what caused him to falter. Jeff risks his own life to discover what happened to his mentor before he loses his job, his love, or his own life.

Book Excerpt:

For Jeff, the rest of the week flew by just as the first part had.  It was now Friday afternoon, and he found himself standing in the elevator in Brooke’s building.  She had sent him a text earlier in the day to let him know that she had seen Rick in the building.  If Jeff was actually going to talk to him, then now would be the time to do it. 
He had taken the afternoon off from work and decided to go see Brooke.  If he ran into Rick while he was there, then he could use Brooke as a cover for trying to feel Rick out.  He would get a chance to see just how much Rick knew.
As the elevator doors slid open, he wondered about Detective Martell.  He had not heard anything from him, but he had also not seen anything in the news about his capture.  The city newspaper had run an article on Thursday morning about Martell’s disappearance at the bottom of page eight.  The article said nothing about Jeff or about the red vigilante, but had mentioned that Martell’s disappearance was suspicious, that he was wanted for questioning, and that he might be armed and dangerous. 
As he walked down the hall searching for Brooke’s cubicle, he reminded himself to have faith in Martell.  It had paid off more than once already.
“Hey,” he said as he rounded the corner to Brooke’s desk.  Brooke was gone, but Rick sat in her chair.  He was just closing the center drawer of her desk when Jeff surprised him.  “Can I help you with something?”
“No,” Rick stammered.  “I was just waiting for Brooke to return.”
“I can see that.  What did you want in her desk drawer?”
“I wasn’t in it.  I was just opening and closing it as I waited.  Anyway,” he said as he stood up and tried to slide past Jeff, “I’ve got important people to meet with.  I expect to be contacted soon, or I may have to act without them.”
As Rick moved by him, Jeff slid in behind and followed.  Jeff noticed that Rick moved quite well, not relying on his cane to get him by.  He still carried it, but he did not put weight on it, and he clearly did not use it for support as he flicked it around, sometimes swinging it in circles as he moved. 
Rick reached the end of the hall, and just as he turned to enter a small office, Jeff stepped forward and pushed Rick forcefully into the office just next door.  Jeff noted the pictures of some woman and her family on the walls, but she was not here at the moment, and to Jeff it seemed a safer place to talk than a room Rick may have prepped with an audio recorder for Jeff’s visit. 
“What’s wrong with you?” Rick complained as Jeff moved him into the next door office.  “This isn’t my office.”
“That’s the point,” Jeff said as he stepped in behind and shut the door.  “Brooke told me something that bothered me.”
“I thought it would.  I’ve kind of got you between a rock and a hard place, don’t I?” he said as he sat in the woman’s desk chair and reclined it.
“I don’t have any idea where you come up with your fantasies, but I want you to stay away from Brooke.  I don’t like people making things up about me.  You know how crazy you sound?”
“Crazy?  I’ll tell you what’s crazy.  Putting on a dark suit and mask and then running around the state of Illinois catching criminals.  Or is it?”
Jeff stared into Rick’s eyes, searching for Rick’s true intent.  What was he saying? 
“I’m going to be very honest with you,” Rick said with a smile.  “I have no evidence that you are who I think you are.”
“I think you’re an idiot,” Jeff said.  He turned to leave when Rick spoke up again. 
“But I do know that it was you that saved Brooke, Lillian, and I.  You took down both men.  And I can follow the news as easily as anyone else.  If you push me on this, I promise you I’ll follow you wherever you go until I collect enough evidence to prove you’re the vigilante.”
“Why even try to make your stupid theory stick?” Jeff asked angrily as he turned back around.  “Brooke won’t leave me for you.  This job of hers may have been tough for us, but we’ve been through worse.  I love her and she loves me.  Back out of it.”
Jeff turned for the door but again stopped at Rick’s words, this time with his hand on the door handle. 
“Brooke has nothing to do with this.”
“You’re just full of lies, aren’t you?” Jeff said as he tried to decide whether to leave or not.  His hand was still on the handle of the door, but he needed to know Rick’s motive.  “What does it have to do with?  Honestly, it seems to me that you’re just making things up about me to try and get to Brooke.”
“I like Brooke,” Rick said, leaning forward in his chair.  Getting control of himself again, he leaned back.  “But I can’t say she deserves someone better than you.”
Jeff turned around full of confusion.  What was going on?  Now Rick was complimenting him?
“Look, you may not think much of me, I certainly didn’t prove myself to be very worthy when I had the chance, but I think I proved I’ve got the guts.  Let’s put Brooke to the side for the moment and talk about you training me.”
“For what?” Jeff asked.  Rick really was a lunatic, he decided.  He was still not sure exactly how he knew about the mask, but Jeff was sure that Rick wanted to end Jeff and Brooke’s relationship.
“To fight along side of you.  I’ve dreamt of doing something like this for years, and now I’ve got direct contact with a guy who does it for real.  I want in.”
“There’s nothing to be in,” Jeff said, turning for the door for the third time. 
“Don’t let it go this way, Jeff,” Rick said, standing up as Jeff opened the door and walked out.  “I’ll stay glued to the news.  I’ll follow everything that happens, and eventually I’ll prove what I know.  It’s your choice.”

Book Trailer: 

Author Bio:

Growing up in north-central Indiana, Matthew learned the value of a good imagination at an early age. Bob Kane and Bill Finger's Batman, Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt, and Ian Fleming's James Bond were constant visitors to Matthew's imaginative world.

At the age of 14 Matthew began taking writing classes from none other than his own mother. Having a Master's in English, she wanted her children to be able to communicate properly with the written word. Of course, Matthew hated this. However, nearly twenty years later the lessons learned combined with the imagination born from sheer boredom have cultivated a desire to share his imaginings.

To better tell his adventure stories, Matthew began taking lessons in Martial Arts in 2011. Having achieved a Red Belt in Tae Kwan Do and having broken his nose during a sparring session, Matthew has a unique ability to combine his imagination with real-life experiences to tell stories in a way that are creative and adventurous, yet gritty and realistic.

In September of 2011 Brighton Publishing made Matthew's second book, The Good Fight, his first published novel. The sequel, Nothing Good is Free is now out in eBook and will be released by Brighton in paperback in March 2013. The final installment, The Price We Pay is currently being written and will hopefully be released during the summer of 2014.

You can contact him by clicking the "Email the Author" link from the homepage. You can also follow Matthew on both Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook page
Twitter handle 
YouTube channel

You can purchase the book at:
Or have your local library order it in for you!

Matthew R. Horn is giving away a copy of Nothing Good is Free. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Ton of Gold by James Callan

Book Blurb:

Can long forgotten, old folk tales affect the lives of people today? In A Ton of Gold, one certainly affected young, brilliant Crystal Moore. She stands on the brink of losing everything – her only family, her self-esteem, her career and quite possibly her life. Two people are killed, others threatened, a house burned and an office fire-bombed – all because of an old folk tale, greed and ignorance.

On top of that, the man who nearly destroyed Crystal emotionally is coming back. This time he can destroy her career. She’ll need all the help she can get from a former bull rider, her streetwise housemate and her feisty 76 year-old grandmother.

To buy his book, go here:
On Amazon, in paperback, at:
Or the Kindle edition at:      
Or from Oak Tree Press at:

 Author Bio:
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published several non-fiction books. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his fourth book, A Ton of Gold, released in February, 2013.

To keep in touch with Jim, go here:

Blog site:
Facebook: James Callan
Twitter: @jamesrcallanusy

Jim is giving away a copy of A Ton of Gold. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.  To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Jim Callan!

Is there a story behind A TON OF GOLD?
A couple of years ago, I read an old Texas folk tale. I wondered if there was a way that particular folk tale could affect the lives of people today. From that grew A TON OF GOLD.

What’s the last thing you wrote?
The last thing I wrote was a book on character development, titled CHARACTER: THE HEARTBEAT OF THE NOVEL. It is a book with instruction, inspiration, lots of examples and exercises, all designed to help the writer develop memorable characters.

What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
The first book I wrote was COMPUTER LITERACY MADE EASY AND FUN -- BITS, BYTES, APPLES AND MICE. It took the confusing computer language and concepts and put them in easy to understand language.

What’s your favorite genre of writing?
Mystery / suspense.

Who is the most fun character you ever created?
That’s a tough one. But if I have to pick only one, I’m going with the seventy-six year-old grandmother in A TON OF GOLD. But Brandi, a street wise young woman in the same book, is a very close runner-up. 

Do you type or write by hand? Computer? Typewriter? Legal pad?
I use a computer and can’t imagine writing a novel by hand. I have a couple of friends who do. I was astounded. Then I found out their wives typed up all their handwritten pages. Still, the ease of correction, cutting and pasting is too big a tool for me to give up. Plus, I like to see the words pop up on the screen, see what the printed sentence looks like. And lastly, there’s a good chance that I couldn’t read my hand written page a day later.

Do you archive everything you write?
My wife would tell you I keep too much. And she’d be right. I keep not only every book I’ve written, but on most of them, I have many of the rewrites.

What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Having had two books out already in 2013, I’m not certain when the next book will come out. But I have the second novel in the Father Frank series written and ready to ship to the publisher. The first book in the series is CLEANSED BY FIRE which received a number of very complimentary reviews. The second book in the series is currently titled, OVER MY DEAD BODY.

Author bio:
After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—writing. He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years, and published several non-fiction books. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his fourth book, A Ton of Gold, released in February, 2013.

To contact Jim:

Blog site:
Facebook: James Callan
Twitter: @jamesrcallan


To buy Jim's books, go here:

On Amazon, in paperback, at: 
Or the Kindle edition at:      
Or from Oak Tree Press at: 
Jim is giving away a copy of A Ton of Gold. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.  To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This Week's Winners

Welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.

Before we announce our three winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to Cheri Swalwell who offered her devotional  Because They Need You.
Thanks to Cheryl Rogers who offered her ebook Lost in the Woods.
And thanks to Jordyn Redwood for offering her novel Poison.
And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winners:
I am sorry to say we do not have a winner for Cheri Swalwell’s devotional  Because They Need You.

Rose has won Cheryl Rogers’s ebook  Lost in the Woods
Bethany  has won Jordyn Redwood’s novel  Poison.
Since Blue Nichols didn’t claim his book, Teela has won Kerry Nietz’s book Mask.

Winners, it's your responsibility to contact me  sharonalavy {at} gmail {dot} com) with your address so the author can send you a book. 
Subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss the winners list.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Debut Novelist Elizabeth Maddrey

Hello Elizabeth and welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft. Is there a story behind your book Wisdom to Know?

In many ways, Wisdom to Know came from a combination of the type of book I’m always looking for as a reader and the 20 years I’ve spent doing pro-life ministry. While at its core, Wisdom to Know is a romance, it also delves into some issues that are hugely prevalent within the church, but very often swept under the rug. Still, there are so many people in our pews who are hurting because of an abortion, and that aspect of the storyline is drawn from having helped in a ministry that works with these hurting folks and helps them find a place of healing and forgiveness.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

Honestly, I probably should take spider solitaire off my computer – it’s so easy to just open up a game and think “Oh, one quick game and then I’ll get back to it.” But then if I don’t win, I feel like I should get another chance and if I’m not careful, twenty minutes will have passed and I’ll have done nothing but move cards around. It’s ridiculous.

Those computer games are just too tempting, I know. If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?
I’d love to be able to paint like Frederic Church. (Or any of the painters in the Hudson River School category of artists.) The contrasts of light and dark and the realism that still has such an ethereal quality to it…I can sit and stare at them for hours. I can only imagine how incredible it would be to create something like that.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

I love a good pun. Or a bad one. My dad and I will frequently choose a subject and see how long we can carry on a conversation while incorporating puns. It tends to drive the rest of our family nuts, but, well, we enjoy it. 

What is your favorite season of the year?  

Fall. I grew up in Northern New Mexico, and the flaming orange of the Aspen trees is something that speaks to my soul. I also love how it’s warm during the day (but not hot) and then gets that crisp bite in the air at night. 

Sounds nice. Are there things you put off doing because you dread them? 

I really dislike doing any more than a cursory tidy-up of the house. At the same time, I hate knowing the house isn’t clean. So it’s this weird tug-of-war in my brain and I end up putting off things like really scrubbing the shower until it’s to the point that it takes four times longer than if I’d just keep up with it. Even knowing that though, I still put it off “just one more day.”

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?   
God’s sovereignty and grace. Those sound like huge themes that kind of encompass all of Scripture, but they’re so critical to being able to rest in His hand, no matter what circumstances arise. They’re both also things that I think, if we’re honest, we all struggle with – no matter how long we’ve been a believer. The ideas behind them are so much more than we can really comprehend. But when we get to experience them first hand, it’s beautiful.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

My next book, Courage to Change, is due out April 8, 2013. It’s the second book in the Grant Us Grace series (Wisdom to Know is book 1), and it’s the story of attorneys Allison Vasak and Phil Reid. We meet Allison in Wisdom to Know (she’s a friend of the hero, Kevin.) Phil came to Christ and his wife left him because of it. That hurt has him embracing the idea that Christians shouldn’t remarry, even though he’s drawn to his co-worker, Allison. As they work together on a case, Phil reevaluates his position – but his ex-wife is determined to create as much havoc as possible.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Connect with Elizabeth Maddrey at: 



Twitter @elizabethmaddre

Purchase Wisdom to Know at:
Amazon Kindle

Elizabeth Maddrey is giving away a copy of Wisdom to KnowTo be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your e-mail address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Wisdom to Know by Elizabeth Maddrey

Is there sin that love can’t cover?

Lydia Brown has taken just about every wrong turn she could find. When an abortion leaves her overwhelmed by guilt, she turns to drugs to escape her pain. After a single car accident lands her in the hospital facing DUI charges, Lydia is forced to reevaluate her choices.

Kevin McGregor has been biding his time since high school when he heard God tell him that Lydia Brown was the woman he would marry. In the aftermath of Lydia’s accident, Kevin must come to grips with the truth about her secret life.
While Kevin works to convince himself and God that loving Lydia is a mistake, Lydia struggles to accept the feelings she has for Kevin, though she fears her sin may be too much for anyone to forgive.


Chapter One
“You look like a prostitute.”
Lydia frowned at her best friend. “Brad likes my legs.”
Kevin admired the long, shapely legs in front of him from where he was sprawled on her living room couch. “Won’t you be cold if you show so much of them?”
“It’s September, not the middle of January. It’s still warm out.” Aggrieved she patted her hem. “Besides, the skirt reaches the end of my fingertips.” 
 “Your elbows are bent.” 
 “That rule shouldn’t apply to me, I have long fingers.”
Kevin cocked a brow. “You wouldn’t wear that to church.”
“We’re not going to church.”  Lydia shot him an impish grin. “Besides, there are a couple of guys there who wouldn’t usually give me the time of day...maybe if I wore this, I’d get their attention.” 
 “More than likely.” Kevin shook his head. “Where are you going? You never did say.”
 “Dinner downtown, then to a club, in Georgetown I think.”
“Bridge club?”  He asked hopefully.
Lydia snickered. “Dance.  But then you knew that. And before you ask, no, I don’t know which club. But,” she lifted a red-tipped finger to forestall his comment, “since it’s Brad, it’ll be either swing or salsa.”
Kevin frowned. “Everyone is going to see your underwear in that skirt.”
Lydia rolled her eyes.
Kevin started to speak several times before rubbing his forehead.  “I’m just trying to look out for you, kiddo.”
 “Thanks, Mom.”
 “Didn’t you just finish complaining that Brad treats you like an object?” At her grudging nod he continued. “You think it might have something to do with clothing choices?” 
Lydia crossed her arms. “I should be able to wear anything I want and still be treated with respect.”
“Sure, in a perfect world. But seriously, Lyd, that outfit…” He paused and considered the short skirt too-snug top and shook his head. “It doesn’t scream ‘Respect me’.”
Pouting, she pushed his feet out of the way and flopped onto the couch beside him. “I appreciate your concern.”
Kevin snorted. 
“No, I really do.” She smiled and patted his knee. “You’re like the brother I never had.”
He winced.
“Still, a date with your almost fiancĂ© is surely a reason to dress up, right?” Lydia gestured to a conservative black jacket draped on the arm of the sofa. “Or did you want me to wear something like that?”
“What’s wrong with it?”
“That’s for work. This is a date.  You don’t wear work clothes on a date.”
Kevin stood, glancing at his watch, “Whatever, Lydia. I drove into McLean to see if you were free tonight, not to be a stand-in for a girlfriend. Or a brother. You look great and you know it.” A brief, wistful look flashed across his features. “I’m sure Brad will agree.” His hand on the knob of her apartment door, he turned and added with a resigned sigh, “You know where to find me when you get home and need to complain about how he spent the evening undressing you with his eyes.” 
“That’s not fair, Kevin.” 
“Tell me about it,” he muttered, slamming the apartment door behind him. 
Lydia plopped into the pew beside Kevin as the organist began the prelude. He glanced up from his perusal of the bulletin and arched his brow. “Late night?”
Groaning quietly she nodded and rested her head briefly on his shoulder, muffling a yawn. “Why is it that Sunday morning always comes so soon after Saturday night?”
Kevin patted her head and nudged her off his shoulder. “Ah, the price of the partier. I, you’ll notice, am well rested and was here early enough to mingle and get coffee.” He grinned broadly. “Are those dark circles under your eyes or were you in a fight?”
Lydia stuck out her tongue and rummaged through her purse, emerging with her compact. “Idiot,” she hissed at Kevin as the pastor welcomed everyone.
Kevin chuckled quietly and raised a finger to his lips, turning his attention to the service.
All through the worship music, Lydia tried surreptitiously to find Brad in the sanctuary. Periodically Kevin would elbow her and she’d attend to the music more, singing the actual words instead of mouthing “watermelon”. As the final song drew to a close and the music minister began to pray, her phone buzzed quietly in her purse. Hoping to appear unobtrusive she peeked at the readout. The corners of her mouth quirked upward when she saw it was a text message from Brad. Guessing that he was letting her know he wouldn’t be at the service, Lydia tried to return her full focus to the service. At least now she wouldn’t have to wonder where he was sitting.
She flipped her Bible to follow along as the pastor read aloud. After several verses she glanced at Kevin and decided to risk his censure to see what Brad had to say. Maybe they’d be able to meet up for lunch.
Babe, had a blast last night. 2 bad U wanted an early night—ran into Staci leaving UR bldg. We’re hitting brunch now. Call U l8r –B
Lydia fumed as she re-read the message. It figured that Staci was lying in wait. Probably had the hallway staked out just in case he didn’t stay the whole night. She considered several choice words to describe Staci’s character. Who are you to talk? The thought was unbidden and she struggled to tamp it down. After all, she hadn’t stolen Brad from anyone and now he was basically her fiancĂ©. He’d all but said a proposal was coming—he just wanted everything to be perfect. That had to mean snow and Christmas lights. I’m nothing like Staci. She studied her left hand and pictured it with the one and a half carat oval diamond in a simple but elegant platinum band. She’d pointed out the ring casually one day when they’d been doing some window shopping. Two more months to go. Then she’d be one more step away from the “single and disappointing” label she suspected her parents and sisters always applied to her behind her back. Well, at least she’d be rid of the “single” part of it. And Staci would have to back off. Lydia bit back a sigh. She could last two more months.
 Her phone buzzed again with another text message but before she could read it, Kevin grabbed her phone with a scowl. Heat stole across her cheeks. Fighting humiliation, she stiffened her spine and forced herself to attend to the last few minutes of the sermon.
When the organ postlude began, Lydia stuck out her hand. “Point made.”
“Touchy.” Kevin pulled the phone from his shirt pocket and handed it to her. “Must’ve been some date.”
Lydia pushed thoughts of Staci from her mind. “You know, you could try to be happy for me. You’ve been my best friend for as long as I can remember and I’m basically engaged to Brad.”
Kevin flinched. “You know why I can’t be happy about that. But,” he held up his hand to stop her interruption, “I did promise to stop mentioning that I love you.” He managed a wry smile. “You might try and remember that best friends is not the ending I want for our relationship ... and consider the situation from my perspective sometime. See you in class?” He made his way down to the opposite aisle without waiting for a response.
Lydia watched him go and wondered for the thousandth time what it would take for him to realize that she wasn’t ever going to see him that way. At a light touch on her shoulder she turned, smiled broadly, and dropped the phone into her pocket. “Hi, Daddy.”
The pastor grinned and pulled Lydia into a tight hug. “Lyd. I didn’t expect you to make it this morning when I didn’t see you for coffee time.”
“Daddy, I make better coffee at home, you know that. Why do you think I would subject myself to the stuff you make by the gallon here?”
“I don’t know, ten minutes with your dad and mom?”
“So you can grill me about my Saturday night date? I don’t think so. Have a little faith, Daddy, you raised me right.” Her phone buzzed and she leaned up to kiss his cheek. “I should go and see if that’s work related before heading to class.”
“Will we see you for lunch?”
“Probably not today, but I’ll let you know if that changes.” Lydia squeezed past him and hurried from the sanctuary.
Pushing her way through the throngs gathering in the foyer for coffee, Lydia offered falsely bright smiles to those who called her name and mimed that she’d be right back. She finally made it to the restrooms and locked herself in one of the stalls. Closing the toilet lid, she perched on it and scrolled to the latest new text. With a frown at the unrecognized number Lydia opened the message and her screen filled with a picture of Staci and Brad in a lip lock. She fought against the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. A new message buzzed, this one from Brad.
 Not what it looks like. Call U l8r.
She snorted and snapped her phone shut. She knew that it was probably only the beginning of what it looked like. Hands shaking and mind reeling, she stood, flushed the toilet for appearance’s sake, and made her way to the sink to wash her hands. Despite vigorous scrubbing, she couldn’t get the illusion of a diamond ring off her left hand. Staci had been after Brad since they met, but he’d chosen her, hadn’t he?
“Engaged to be engaged,” she muttered. She paused to chat briefly with several clumps of people as she made her way to the large room where the singles met for fellowship and enough Bible study to get by. At the door, Lydia pushed the text message from her mind and fixed a smile on her face. It didn’t matter that her carefully constructed plans were disintegrating; she would do what she could to keep up a perfect front.
Lydia’s phone rang as she exited through the church’s front doors.
“How’s my timing?” Brad’s voice was relaxed and cheerful.
Even though she was angry, Lydia’s heart sped up at the sound of his voice. “Not bad at all. I’m heading to my car. Where should I meet you?”
There was a long enough pause that Lydia glanced at the screen of her phone to make sure the call was still connected. “I’m, uh, kind of beat today actually.”
Lydia frowned and leaned against the door of her car. “Are you coming down with something? I could bring you some soup.”
“Don’t trouble yourself, babe. I think I need to rest.” There was a muffled giggle in the background. Brad hissed.
Though she hadn’t caught the words, Lydia couldn’t miss the meaning and her voice dripped icicles, “I see. Well. I’ll just leave you to recover.” She ended the call, furious, though she couldn’t decide if she was angrier with him or with herself. She knew he’d cheated on her before. Usually with another girl in the single’s group who couldn’t wait to rub her nose in it, so this was certainly consistent with his pattern. Except things had changed, hadn’t they? She’d given him what he wanted and they were on their way toward being engaged. Lydia closed her eyes and lowered her forehead to the roof of her car and she finally grasped how easily she’d been played. Shame washed over her. What now?
“Honey, are you all right?” Lydia’s mother gently patted her arm and peered at her with concern. “I figured you’d be off on a date by now…Your father mentioned that you wouldn’t be making it for lunch, was he wrong?”
Lydia opened her eyes to look at her mother and imagined that she saw a vision of the future: blond hair gone ashy, sparkling blue eyes now peeking from behind small wire framed lenses, the same peaches and cream complexion that glowed in her own mirror every morning and an extra twenty pounds that somehow managed to look comforting. She shook her head, forcing a bright smile. “I’ll be fine.” She glanced at her watch. “But you’re right, I am running late. Sorry about lunch. Maybe next week.”
Her mother’s shoulders sagged minutely but she nodded and leaned forward to brush a light kiss on her daughter’s cheek. “All right then. Maybe next week.”
Lydia watched her mother cross the parking lot to the car where her father waited. Drained, thoughts whirling, she slid behind the wheel and headed home.

About the Author

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of math and organization steered her into computer science for college and graduate school, she has always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity. Her debut novel, Wisdom to Know, Book 1 of the Grant Us Grace Series, was released in January, 2013. Courage to Change (April, 2013) is the second in that series and continues the story of characters from the first book. She is also the co-author of A is for Airstrip: A Missionary’s Jungle Adventure, a children’s book based on the work of a Wycliffe missionary.
Elizabeth lives in the suburbs of Washington D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys. 

Purchase Wisdom to Know at:
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Elizabeth Maddrey is giving away a copy of Wisdom to KnowTo be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your e-mail address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Warm Welcome, Connie Mann!

Your title sounds interesting. I'm sure we'll all enjoy hearing what you have to say here today. Thanks for joining us, Connie.

Is there a story behind Angel Falls?

My father was born in Brazil and the story idea started on a trip to Porto Alegre, where he grew up. For years, swarms of street children roamed the streets and I started wondering: What if you’d been abandoned on the streets as a six-year-old? How would you survive? Who would you grow up to be? Those questions became Regina, my switchblade-toting orphanage director and Angel Falls’ heroine.

Switchblade-toting? Wow. What distracts you from writing the easiest?

The Internet, hands down. I tell myself I'll just take a five-minute peek at Facebook, Twitter, email...and the next thing I know, an hour—or more--has gone by.

I know. Social Media has a way of getting us to stay longer than we intend. lol. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

There are some in my family who still shake their heads over the fact that I went out and became a USCG-licensed boat captain. It's not exactly a regular job, especially for a girl. But I love being out on the water and I especially love showing schoolchildren how cool alligators and other Critters really are.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

Family nights are my favorite nights! Our two kids are grown and on their own, so those nights when we get together to eat and laugh and tell stories are all the more precious because they've become so much harder to organize. But those nights make my heart smile.

Mine too! Smile. What is your favorite season of the year?

I love Christmastime. I love the lights and candles and laughter and chaos. I love spending time with family and friends, with the tree lit, fireplace roaring (okay, we live in Florida, so sometimes the a/c is on, too). It's crazy and exhausting and wears me out, but I love every minute.

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

I hate self-promotion almost as much as I hate cleaning the bathroom. When I have to do both on the same day, I am not a happy camper. Often I set a timer and just "git r done," so I can move on to more important things, like procrastinating online.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

My father worked for TWA his whole career, so I caught the travel bug early. I sleep like a baby on airplanes and my favorite place is the next one I haven't been to yet. My bucket list is pretty long, but I'm hopeful. There is so much of this wonderful world I still want to see.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)

I love Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares The Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." There have been times in my life when hope was in short supply, but I have learned that God is not in heaven wringing his hands over my situation. He has a plan, a good plan. My job is to trust.



To buy her book, go here:


Christian Book:

Connie's Bio:
Connie Mann loves variety, so she is an author, a blogger and a boat captain. She encourages women to reach their dreams through her blog: and speaks on perseverance, determination and the writing craft. She knows a bit about being stubborn since her new romantic suspense, Angel Falls, took 10 years to get published! She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and loves romantic suspense. She is also a United States Coast Guard-licensed boat captain and pilots a boat for the Silver River Museum, part of the local school system. What a treat to show curious 5th graders their first alligator or underwater spring! When she’s not writing, Connie loves to spend time on Central Florida’s waterways, explore nearby towns, and hang out with her fabulous family. Please visit her online at:, or send her a Tweet @CaptConnieMann.

Connie is giving away a copy of Angel Falls. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown

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